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Episode 369

Phoebe – Shortened cervix, bed rest 20 weeks

In today’s episode Phoebe from @thememo shares her pregnancy and birth experience. The first-half of her pregnancy was relatively smooth but at her 20 week scan the sonographer noticed that her cervix had shortened significantly and she was promptly taken to the maternity unit in a wheelchair. She was officially diagnosed with an insufficient (also known as incompetent) cervix and a week later she had a cervical stitch put in and was on strict bedrest till 28 weeks. Under the care of a private obstetrician, she opted to be induced at 38 weeks and after labour began she chose to have an epidural. She talks in detail about the unexpected elements of the pushing phase and chats about the highs and lows of early postpartum.

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“Sean and I met in April 2020 and in November that year we decided that we’d start trying in 2021. It took us four months to conceive Remy; I’d gone off birth control and was doing acupuncture and I was thrilled and relieved when I got a positive test because I thought it was going to be hard.

“I’d been recommended an obstetrician in Melbourne – Dr Briohny Hutchinson – and she suggested the embrace programme where I was cared for by a team of midwives and her. But that changed when I was classed high-risk halfway through my pregnancy.

“Everything had been going well for 20 weeks when they looked at my cervix and told me that it was 14mm and a week later it was 4mm. Essentially they were telling me that my body was preparing to go into labour. They couldn’t give me a reason why, it’s called cervical incompetence or insufficiency.

“I was overwhelmed and terrified. I was moved to a hospital room and they wouldn’t even let me walk to the bathroom. There were a few treatment options; a cervical stitch, a pessary and bedrest. I was on strict bedrest for 10 weeks after the stitch was put in. I had a general anesthetic and the operation took about an hour and then I stayed in hospital overnight.

“I got to 28 weeks which was a huge relief and then I started to walk around the block at 30 weeks. My OB reassured me that I could do gentle exercise so I returned to pilates and definitely felt better about the strength and fitness of my body in preparation for birth.

“The stitch was taken out at 36+6 and it was uncomfortable; I’d describe it as a really, really bad pap smear. Once they took it out I had to stay at the hospital because it’s common to go straight into labour but that didn’t happen to me; I was pregnant for another week.

“I chose to be induced; they put the gel in and by the next morning I was in labour so I went into hospital with contractions. I got there about 7am and by that stage I couldn’t walk so they got a wheelchair and they did a vaginal examination and I was about 2-3cm. They broke my waters and I just couldn’t believe how much water there was. At about 9:30am I got an epidural.

“I was really confident in getting an epidural; why drive a manual car when you can drive an automatic? I’d rather just make things easier for myself and I really trusted the hospital and medicine to get me through.

“For the next three hours, Sean and the midwife and I were just chatting. It was like we were having lunch together. At about 12:30pm I was fully dilated and the epidural started to wear off so I could feel some of the contraction pain and pressure which was good because I knew when to push.

“I could feel it when I was having a contraction. I was really trying to get in the right headspace when I was pushing and I was leaning on the coaching of my OB and the midwives. Remy’s heart rate wasn’t recovering between contractions so my OB said we’d have to use the vacuum. I know some people would try to avoid it but my doctor felt it was needed and I was okay with that. I birthed him at 2:20pm and he came straight to my chest. It was quite overwhelming, I was in shock.

“About an hour after birth he latched and the midwives commented on his good latch. The next few days in hospital were a rollercoaster. We had different midwives with different methods which was helpful but also something else to navigate. I preemptively had all the tools at my disposal, including silverettes which were a lifesaver.”

Topics Discussed

Cervical stitch, Epidural, Induction, instrumental birth, One baby, Private obstetrician

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode is brought to you by my Valentine’s Day sale. I’ve had so much love coming my way the last few weeks with the book launching and I wanted to share it back to you with 15% off my online products.

So you can save 15% off The Birth Class, The Caesarean Birth Class, The Birth Bundle, Discovering Motherhood, The Breastfeeding Guide and my Birth Affirmation Cards.

Simply enter the code ‘LOVE‘ at checkout and you’ll get 15% off.

This offer is only valid for one week, and will expire on 21 February 2023.

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